The CID picked up Bhatt and seven others, including two former police officers, following directives from the Gujarat High Court.
“Sanjiv Bhatt was initially detained for questioning and shortly after that he was arrested by CID while others are still under detention,” Director General of Police (CID) Ashish Bhatia said.
Going by the details of the case, lawyer Sumersingh Rajpurhoit was arrested by Bhatt in 1996 with a kg of drugs and booked in a case under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Bhatt was then serving as the District Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha district.
Police claimed that the drugs were found from the room of a hotel that was occupied by Rajpurohit. However, an investigation by Rajasthan Police later revealed that the lawyer was falsely implicated in the case.
This, Rajasthan Police claimed, was done to compel the lawyer to let go a disputed property at Pali district in Rajasthan.
The Rajasthan Police also claimed that Rajpurohit was abducted by Banaskantha Police from his residence at Pali.
Following this investigation, former Banaskantha Police Inspector I.B. Vyas moved the Gujarat High Court in 1999 demanding a detailed probe in to the incident.
The court in June handed over the probe to the CID and asked it to complete the investigation within three months.
Bhatt, who has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media platforms, has had several spats with the ruling establishment in the state since the 2002 communal riots.
In 2011, Bhatt even filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court, accusing Modi of being complicit in the 2002 riots.
Bhatt was dismissed from the Indian Police Service in 2015 for “unauthorized absence” from service. Bhatt even met fasting Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel last week and extend his support for Hardik’s cause.
“I have been fighting for justice for over two decades now and those responsible for my suffering have been arrested today,” lawyer Rajpurohit told reporters.